Vice President for School Services,
Kimberly Stewart, MS, CCC-SLP
Welcome to the School Services News. This portion of the MSHA website is designed to provide information related to practice of speech-language pathology and audiology in Missouri public schools and in early childhood special education settings. MSHA members’ suggestions for additions or changes in the format of the Schools News section are appreciated. You can comment by emailing Kim at email@example.com
Increase Funding for IDEA Part B State Grants
MSHA President Jacob Gutshall recently sent a letter to Senator Blunt’s office in Washington, DC on behalf of MSHA members encouraging an increase of funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B State Grants. Click here for a copy of this letter.
School Eligibility Criterion Changes
A webinar on the Revised Speech/Language Eligibility Criteria webinar can be found at https://dese.mo.gov/special-education/state-plan-special-education.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has published the new State Plan for Special Education, effective as of July 30, 2019. This new state plan involves changes to the speech-language eligibility criteria to be implemented in the 2019-2020 school year. The new state plan can be found at https://dese.mo.gov/special-education/state-plan-special-education.
Proposed Speech-Language Eligibility Changes Update
For several years, MSHA and MO-CASE have been communicating with DESE about a possible review and revision of the speech-language eligibility criterion, specifically the language criterion. In 2016, the faculty at Saint Louis University submitted a letter to DESE asking for a review and revision of the outdated language eligibility criterion. Over the years, all other states have removed cognitive referencing from their eligibility criterion for language and Missouri was the last state standing. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has not approved the use of cognitive referencing since 2002. ASHA’s position statement regarding access to communication services and supports and several other supporting documents are located on the ASHA website.
As a result of all of the ongoing communication, a work group between MSHA, MO-CASE, DESE and other stakeholders was convened in 2016 to begin the work to revise the eligibility criteria. MSHA was well represented in this work group through current board members, past board members and members. Additionally, non-MSHA member speech-language pathologists also participated in the work group. The task of the work group was completed in early 2017. The recommendations of the work group were presented at the MO-CASE Collaborative Conference in March 2017 and the MSHA Annual Convention in April 2017. The final recommendations of the work group for the proposed speech-language eligibility changes were submitted to DESE in April 2017.
Many other states also have some sort of handbook or guideline document for school-based speech-language pathologists. The work group also agreed that MSHA should take the lead on developing a guideline/handbook document for Missouri school-based speech-language pathologists and this project has the support of DESE, MO-CASE and ASHA. In fact, an ASHA State Association Grant has been awarded to MSHA for this project. This handbook project is in process. Presentations at the MO-CASE Collaborative Conference in March 2018 and at the MSHA Annual Convention in April 2018 will provide updates to attendees regarding the status of the eligibility criterion as well as the handbook.
Information regarding the Proposed Changes to Part B State Plan can be located on the DESE website. As the comment period closed on January 8, 2018, MSHA did submit a letter in support the proposed changes to the plan. Click here for a copy of this letter.
MSHA will continue to provide updates to its members on the Proposed Speech-Language Eligibility Criterion as they become available.
The Office of Special Education, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has posted proposed changes to the Part B State Plan for 2018. Part of the proposed changes includes the information on the revised speech/language eligibility criterion. Many of our MSHA members are familiar with this information which was presented at the 2017 MSHA Convention.
There will be a public comment period available from November 28, 2017 through January 8, 2018. The link to this information is available at: https://dese.mo.gov/special-education/state-plan-special-education
Stay tuned for further information from MSHA. We will keep our members informed as to timelines and outcomes.
ASHA Clinical Fellow Training in Supervision
Did you know that as of January 1, 2020, anyone who supervises a student or mentors a Clinical Fellow (CF) will need to have completed two hours of Continuing Education (CE) training in supervision? In order for no student to go without supervision next spring, please be sure that you have completed two hours of training prior to January 1, 2020!
The link below provides two FREE hours of supervision training by ASHA! If you are a member of the ASHA CE Registry, your account will be marked as “complete” once you finish the course. If you are not a member of the registry, then you can go into your ASHA account yourself and mark yourself as having completed the training.
As of right now, the new certification standard indicates that you only need to do this once, so “one and done!” Please continue to “pay it forward” and take students under your wing. Complete the training before the first of the year!
Dyslexia Task Force Update
On October 31, 2017, the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia presented its recommendations to the State Board of Education and this document was sent to representative Todd Richardson, speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives and Governor Eric Greitens. The recommendations include a statewide system to address the needs of students with dyslexia and recommendations that specifically address:
- Evidence-based reading instruction
- Preservice and in-service professional development
- Teacher certification
- Recommendations for a process for reporting of data
- The study and evaluation of current practices for diagnosing, treating, and educating students
The Missouri statues, which directed the work of the Task Force, define dyslexia as a disorder that is “neurological in origin, characterized by difficulties with accurate and fluent word recognition, and poor spelling and decoding abilities that typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language, often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction and of which secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.” The statutes also define dyslexia screening, related disorders and support. As specified in the definition, the core issue with dyslexia is a deficit in the phonological component of language, an area of expertise for speech-language pathologists (SLPs). Secondary consequences of dyslexia including vocabulary growth, comprehension and background knowledge are also areas of expertise. You will find that the document includes SLPs among those qualified to assist in implementation of the recommendations.
This recommendation is also posted on the website for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. As you read the recommendations, note that the italicized portions are from the statutes RSMo. 167.950 and 663.420: http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/stathtml/16700009501.html
The statements that follow the italicized portions are the Task Force recommendations.
I was honored to serve in this important role as the representative for MSHA and appreciated the opportunity to work cooperatively with the twenty one member Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia to recommend effective ways to address the issue of dyslexia in our schools.
Eva Trumbower, MS, CCC-SLP
The third meeting of Task Force on Dyslexia was held on February 10, 2017, in Jefferson City for the purpose of hearing public testimony focused on classroom instruction, intervention, and implementation of evidence-based reading and instructional programs with general discussion of testimony following. A meeting will be scheduled for March and/or April 2017 in Jefferson City for additional testimony relative to preservice and inservice professional development for dyslexia.
The Missouri House of Representatives has issued a House Committee Hearing Notice for the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia. The Hearing will occur on Friday, February 10, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. in House Hearing Room 7 at the Capital Building (lower level) in Jefferson City. The Hearing is held for the purpose of testimony relating to effective dyslexia intervention programs that address dyslexia or characteristics of dyslexia. Witnesses will be limited to licensed or certified professionals working in the area of dyslexia. If time allows, additional testimony will be permitted.
In June 2016, Governor Jay Nixon signed two pieces of legislation relating to dyslexia: House Bill 2379 and Senate Bill 638. The statutes address screening, professional development, classroom supports and evidence-based reading instruction for dyslexia in all public and charter schools in Missouri. Implementation is to begin in 2018-2019 and continue in subsequent school years. In accordance with the statutes, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education created the role of Director-Dyslexia Specialist and Kim Stuckey has been employed in the position. In addition, the legislation created a Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia (Task Force).
The Task Force is comprised of twenty-one members described in RSMo 633.420.1. The description of Task Force members includes a speech-language pathologist with training and experience in early literacy development and effective research-based intervention techniques for dyslexia recommended by the Missouri Speech-Language-Hearing Association (MSHA). MSHA recommended Eva Trumbower, M.S., CCC-SLP to the legislature and she has been appointed to serve on the Task Force.
Learn more about the Dyslexia Task Force and recent activities.
Missouri has SEALs?
State Education Advocacy Leaders (SEALs) are appointed by ASHA-recognized Speech-Language-Hearing Associations to act as advocates on issues related to education. The State Education Advocacy Leaders were established in 1999 under ASHA’s Priorities. The mission of the SEALs network is to “enhance and perpetuate the advocacy, leadership, and clinical management skills of school-based ASHA members at the state and local levels to influence administrative and public policy decisions that affect the delivery of speech-language pathology and audiology services in school settings.” (www.asha.org). Missouri’s SEAL is Patricia Jones, firstname.lastname@example.org
School Certification and Licensure
Important: The Missouri Speech-Language-Hearing Association is NOT a licensing agent. MSHA supports ASHA, the State Board of Healing Arts, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the agencies which license or credential professionals.
Senate Bill (SB) 107 passed in the 2015 Missouri legislative session and became law on August 28, 2015. As of August 28, 2015, the Board of Healing Arts (BHA) no longer require applicants for licensure to complete a 9 month clinical fellowship period to apply for full licensure. Individuals with a Master’s degree in SLP who have passed the Praxis exam will get a full license from the Board of Healing Arts. With this full “unencumbered” license, they will be able to get initial SLP Student Services Certification from DESE. With a full license these individuals will be able to bill Medicaid.
Effective January 1, 2016, all individuals applying for a DESE SLP Student Services Certificate for the first time must hold a Board Of Healing Arts (BHA) license and they must keep that license current. This does not impact individuals who already hold a DESE SLP credential without a BHA license – they may continue to practice in Missouri public schools with just their DESE certificate.
- How to apply for licensure from the Board of Healing Arts
- Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Certification Requirements for Speech and Language Pathologists (Birth Through Grade 12)
SB 107 made important changes to SLP-A registration. The new law clarifies that the practical hour requirement for SLP-A registration may be done separate from the bachelor’s degree coursework.
Important Websites for SLP-A’s:
Substitute SLPs and Missed Therapy Sessions
The question of how to handle missed therapy sessions in the public schools comes up frequently. On 11/2/06, ASHA requested clarification from the federal Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) as to interpretation based on the IDEA Amendments of 2004. On 3/8/07, OSEP responded by addressing ASHA’s question about the need to use substitutes and to schedule make up sessions when speech/language sessions are missed as a result of either the child’s absences, the SLP’s absences, or other causes such as school activities. OSEP stated that these issues are not addressed in the federal law or the federal regulations. According to OSEP, it is up to each state to ensure a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Therefore, each school entity needs to consider the effect of absences (child’s or SLP’s) or other causes of missed sessions on the child’s progress toward IEP goals. If the goals are not likely to be met, missed sessions may be a denial of FAPE.
In an attempt to receive written clarification from DESE as to the state policy and ask them to consider the OSEP opinion, the MSHA Executive Board developed a Position Statement about missed sessions and presented a draft to Heidi Atkins Lieberman, assistant commissioner of education, on May 19, 2008.
DESE responded quickly and on 5/23/08, the following message was sent to school administrators via the DESE SELS List: ”The U. S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) issued a policy letter in March 2007 (Letter to Clarke). That letter included several issues; one of those issues was compensatory services. In the letter, OSEP changed its mid-1990’s position on compensatory services by noting that IDEA really does not provide for compensatory services, that the issue boils down to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) and that whether a child is in need of compensatory services is an individualized issue. It “encouraged” schools to convene IEP teams to address compensatory services when there has been a failure to implement due to things like provider absences.
After careful consideration and discussion, we have reached the conclusion that our long-standing position that provider absences requires either full make-up services OR an IEP team meeting and decision on the extent, if any, of compensatory services needed, is without authority. However, we strongly recommend that responsible public agencies consider continuing to address provider absences by either full make-up of services OR convening the IEP team to address the need for compensatory services. This is one way to ensure FAPE has been addressed. We also encourage you to discuss this with your school district lawyer.”